Last night I think I ate too much food. It’s 10am and in have absolutely no desire for consumption of anything whatsoever. I don’t like it, because I love my food you know. But clearly my gorging has caused my belly to be full and not require any additional sustenance. Yet.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I wonder if my situation is a metaphor for the pre season we’re now in and when Arsene and Ivan will be ‘full’ when it comes to player acquisition, because it seems they’re after Thomas Lemar to add to the squad and if some are to be believed, the Mahrez and Lemar situation are not linked and it could be that Arsenal could be interested in both. I can understand that to be fair, because Mahrez is predominantly a right winger and Lemar operated mainly on the left next season. So i’m wondering what Arsene and Ivan are going to do when the squad belly is full. But more than that, I’m starting to wondering if there will be a reverting back to the 4-2-3-1 of last season, especially if some of these changes happen. I can only hope that is not the case, because we’ve seen how effective three at the back can be and the defensive stability it gives us was a fine thing to see, so my hope is that the first pre season game in Australia sees us line up with three central defenders.
We’ve also got the numbers to cope with three at the back. When you look at the season as a whole I reckon you probably need six centre halves to cope with the rigors of multiple domestic and European competition. We have Koscielny, Mustafi, Gabriel, Big Per, Holding and Chambers. That’s six and even if you’re sixth choice in that team with three at the back, I bet you can make at least 15 appearances in a season. It’s not exactly what somebody like Chambers would want, but it is what Arsenal need, so I think the decisions in the transfer market at the back will also determine how we’re going to line up next season. If we see Chambers pushing for a move because we’ve started pre season with two central defenders, then we can pretty much guess that Arsene is reverting back to the formation he started last season with. But if we see Chambers, Gabriel and Big Per on a couple of occasions this summer, I reckon we’ll go in to the new season with a back three.
That makes sense, because if Arsene’s only looking to get Lemar as a probable replacement for Alexis, then the players we already have at the club are more suited to a 3-4-3 formation. We have Ramsey, Ox, Xhaka and I thibnk Elneny who are all best placed to operate with three centre backs behind them. We have inside forwards in the shape of Alexis/Lemar, Iwobi, Ozil, the Ox, Lacazette (although that won’t be his position but he can play there) and Welbeck, as well as Giroud, Lacazette and Welbeck who can spearhead the attack. The squad feels geared up for that formation rather than a 4-2-3-1 and if they are going for that formation, you’d need to see more changes like a central midfielder coming in and i’m not sure Arsenal will be looking to hard if they get Lemar. Arsene said at the end of last season two or three signings and we’ve already got two, but with one as a ‘if Alexis goes’ possibility and I don’t think that means we’re after an all-rounder in midfield. Because that’s what we’ll need if we revert to the old formation. We’ll need a player who covers ground when we concede possession high up the pitch, but who can also be that guy who can receive the ball from Xhaka in both close quarters and from distance. Ramsey will run the distance but he’s not a defensive midfielder that can do that. Coquelin is a tackling destructive force, but has as much creativity as an old dog on a warm summers afternoon, so we can’t expect him to perform like that. No, if we’re going to revert back to the old formation we need a DNA merge of Ramsey and Coquelin I think, so the club will need to look for a new player to deliver on that.
So that’s why I’ll be interested to see what happens in the next few pre season games. I think that will also tell us what Arsene’s thinking is when it comes to transfers for the rest of the summer and formation for next season.
Catch you all tomorrow.